NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – On Thanksgiving, families from across the country gather with loved ones to enjoy delicious homecooked meals — but house fires are three times as likely to occur over the holiday than any other day of the year.
According to the United States Fire Administration, an average of 2,300 fires in the nation are reported each year on Thanksgiving. Of those, 74% originate from cooking.
The leading cause of fires on Thanksgiving is leaving food unattended while cooking. Data from the U.S. Fire Administration from 2017-2019 showed that 25 people are injured and five are killed in connection to Thanksgiving cooking fires each year.
We’ve included safety tips below from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to keep in mind for you and your loved ones while making your Thanksgiving meal this year.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working and test them by pushing the button before cooking.
- Stay inside the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop, to keep a close eye on the food.
- Stay inside while cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children at least three feet away from the stove to prevent injury.
- Ensure that children keep a safe distance from hot liquids and food to prevent serious burns.
- Make sure cooking equipment such as plate warmers, mixers, coffee makers and electric knives cannot be reached by children.
- Keep sharp kitchen tools such as knives away from the reach of children.
- Keep all matches and lighters out of the reach of children and lock them in a high cabinet.
- Do not leave children alone in the kitchen.
- Keep the floor clean so you do not trip over any items and into any hot cooking equipment.
The National Fire Protection Association advises the public to not use turkey fryers with cooking oil to prevent severe injuries.
This is because turkey is placed in hot oil, oil often spills from the fryer onto the burner causing a fire, according to the New York Fire Department. Turkey fryers are easy to tip over spilling hot onto anyone nearby.
Fire officials also recommend never placing a partially frozen turkey into a fryer, as it can cause a spillover effect.
The majority of turkey fryers do not have automatic thermostat control, which can cause the oil to overheat to the point of combustion and cause a fire, according to the NYFD. The lids and handles can get extremely hot and cause burns.